Is Health Literacy Important To Protect My Own Health?

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Yes, being a doctor is important. Even just for having the knowledge and information to care for my own health and the health of those around me, I am grateful to be a doctor.

When I was in high school, if you had asked me, I would have never said I wanted to be a doctor. I had never thought about it.

But somehow, I ended up in the medical profession through my family’s guidance.

In the beginning, and even later on, I rebelled a lot because it was a very difficult process. Studying, studying for exams, studying again, studying for harder exams, dealing with the stress of oral exams, experiencing the same stress every exam …

Now …

If I hadn’t been in healthcare and tried to learn about my health from the media, how would it have been?

I think I would have had a very tiring story.

Medicine is a field with too many options to read and master on my own.

There is no single right answer.

There is no option that is 100%.

Even though patterns are being created and the diagnostic and treatment process is being standardized, it is something that cannot be done.

Because we are all different individuals and the genetic, socio-cultural, psychological, environmental … conditions we live in are different. The effort, money, and time we can spend are different.

The process of diagnosis and treatment;

  • is not a process that suits us and that we can adapt to,
  • if we can’t get enough information,
  • only part of the options are mentioned in the information we receive,
  • If decisions are made on our behalf without us realising it, if we consult a physician already full of misinformation,
  • if we don’t want to admit that we know wrong and insist on what we know,
  • If we do not provide the information needed for the physician to make the correct diagnosis and treatment (by deeming it unimportant / not wanting to share it / telling it incompletely),
  • If we restrict the physician and put him in a difficult situation by insisting on a treatment, but we think that this is our right,
  • If we are poorly informed so that our psychology is not affected worse, if we fail to understand even if we are told,
  • if we are not open about treatment effectiveness and satisfaction and do not provide adequate feedback…..

may be disrupted for many reasons.

As a result, travelling from physician to physician, abandoning referral to physicians and seeking “health” in unlikely places…..

Under the stairs practices, people who do not have health education, people who have health education but practice outside of their jurisdiction and those who have these people do it……

Why should you be informed about your health?

You can’t do it if you don’t read. If you don’t know, you can’t question properly.
If you are told, you need to be told in more detail and take a long time to understand.
You may not be able to find someone who will take the time to understand you and tell you.
Even if you are told, you may not understand because you don’t have enough background.
You may have to accept it blindly.
You may find it difficult to choose the path to follow when you encounter a different situation.
You may not be aware of the expected rate and side effects during treatment.
While those with complaints are looking for a solution, we doctors are also learning a lot. New treatments may not be on the doctor’s agenda yet.
You may have difficulty understanding and reporting the effectiveness of the treatment given.

Do I need to report the outcome of the treatment!

If you don’t give feedback to the doctor, if you don’t give feedback, how can the doctor know if you are benefiting from the treatment? Things will go well. That’s why yes.
Of course, you should first talk to your doctor about what healing is. You should evaluate the treatment according to the agreed treatment improvement rate, not with the expectation that the problem will go away by 100% (such as a decrease in complaints, 30% improvement, etc.).

We have patients who read and research so much that they are at a point where they know better than us as doctors and they open up new horizons for us. I am also grateful for this.


Because the treatments we know and apply as doctors are our safe limit.

When we have the opportunity to follow new things, we prioritize the topic we are most interested in. It is difficult to follow all of them in an area where innovations are rapidly increasing, such as medicine. Before we introduce an application we do not know to our practice, we want to increase the scientific evidence in that field and keep our patient safe. However, evidence does not gather very quickly. Even if there is a possibility of being beneficial, we can reject it without much detailed research if there is not enough evidence.

There are many different treatments/contents/nutritional supplements on the market, we cannot master them all.

A new one comes out every day.

The popularity of new treatments is increasing every day. We see that a very popular approach has been banned after a while due to serious side effects.

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And how do I know where to stop? I get told off by my doctor when I know too much. And I don’t want to say I know. Should I stop asking so much? Should I stop? And when should I stop?

It’s good that you know. However, when you say ‘I have made my diagnosis, I have this disease and I want to treat it in this way’, you both mislead the physician and you become the patient who ‘knows too much’. Yes, we should all know how to listen. You should listen to the physician and the physician should listen to you. First, the physician will listen to you and evaluate you in detail, then you will tell him/her about the information that you are missing, maybe he/she missed to ask or did not realise. Then you will review where you have reached by talking to each other. If we succeed in listening and discussing the points that are on our minds, no one will be in the position of being a know-it-all.

If we are a very knowledgeable patient and we diagnose ourselves, the doctor doesn’t have any work left, so why does he need to examine us?

You cannot think that you can acquire the information that the doctor has acquired by reading it, by working for years and accumulating knowledge. It is important to be informed in your mutual discussion, but it does not mean that you can diagnose yourself and determine your treatment. If you think so, you will move towards the wrong treatment with the wrong guidance. Therefore, your highest expectation when you go to a doctor should be that he shares his knowledge and guides you correctly.

See you in good health.

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